Wednesday, August 24, 2016



Soap yup soap comes in all forms from liquid to solid. And all types from glycerin to castile to cold pressed which produces those wonderful bubbly solid bars that always slip out of your hands at the most inconvenient times.  It comes with fragrance or none , a variety of colors or not. Infused with herbs or smooth as a babies bottom.

We have been making cold processed goat milk soap here at Walnetto Farm for over 20 years. Our soap is one of many ways we have used the milk our girls produce at about a gallon a day per doe. So we often find ourselves swimming in milk. As many folks who have dairy animals as part of the homestead we then began the journey of how do we use this great abundance our girls have given us? 

Soap is a great way to use the milk as since there are no FDA  regulations that rule out using raw milk in soap or restrictions that the milk must come from a certified raw dairy. In fact the restrictions on what most personal products (shampoo, conditioners, creams and lotions etc) must have or maybe more importantly must not have in them it is pretty much open to the producers discretion. However with that said my personal opinion is as with so many things in this world that go on or into our bodies less is better. So make sure to read those labels and not only check for where the product is produced but where did the individual ingredients originate.

Our standby for years has been pretty much the standard olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, castor oil, goats milk (but of course) , sodium hydroxide* and essential oils. Choosing to do one thing well instead of many things maybe not so well.
Family and friends love this soap. It has nothing caustic in it.
 
 *Sodium hydroxide the dreaded LIE. Yes I did not spell the l-y-e correctly. Before anyone calls the grammar police let me explain why with a great little article found at Hoegger Supply Company (http://hoeggerfarmyard.com/the-farmyard/soap-making-2/saponification-explained/ )

Saponification Explained

In simple terms, saponification is the name for a chemical reaction between an acid and a base to form a salt. When you make soap using the cold process soap making method, you mix an oil or fat (which is your acid) with Lye (which is your base) to form soap (which is a salt).

How exactly does this happen? In order to understand it, you must consider the chemical makeup of the acid and base being used in the reaction.

The base must always be composed of one hydroxide ion. For the most part, people use lye (one sodium ion and one hydroxide ion) as their base. You will notice that the sodium ion does not take part in the reaction at all. For this reason, other bases like potassium hydroxide can be used as well because it too is made up of one hydroxide ion. Potassium hydroxide is more prominently used for liquid soap making.

There are many different types of acids that will react with your base and saponify. Your acid could be olive oil, coconut oil or tallow among others. Each acid has a unique combination of triglycerides (compounds made of three fatty acids, attached to a single molecule of glycerol) which combines with the base (lye) differently. The amount of base needed to react with the acid will vary depending on the chemical makeup of the acid.  See the saponification table help page for guidelines.

As you combine, and stir the carefully measured acid and base together, they start to react. The triglycerides within the acid release the single glycerol molecule (which turns into skin nourishing glycerin) allowing the fatty acids to combine with the hydroxide ions within the base, forming soap.

So folks what we have here is the big l-i-e about lye in your soap. When saponification  takes place it renders the lye inert. Per the dictionary chemically inactive. synonyms : unmoving, motionless, immobile, inanimate,still, stationary,static. Or simply two reactions occur. The first reaction is glycerol turning into beneficial glycerin and the second is the acid and the base combining to form a salt which is the soap.

There is soap produced without the benefit of lye. They are lovely in their own right but their producers claims of sodium hydroxide soaps being hazardous are erroneous. And while we are talking soap the large percentage of commercial soaps you will find at the market or shop of your choice do have lye in them. But wait you say "not mine not on the label".  Look again but look at a different wording such as sodium cocoate, sodium  palmate,sodium palm kernalate,sodium talowate,  sodium olivate or lastly saponified oils. Once again read your labels you are worth the trouble so are any members of your family. 

I make every effort to buy local for my ingredients. I like to have a face and a voice to go with the product I buy and keep it close. To me local is no more than 50 miles from my farm. But when I have to purchase from further away I try to be sure it is from someone like minded and a small family owned farm or business. So far my soap is made from with ingredients produced or businesses in the Northern California area into the Pacific Northwest. 

Hope you have enjoyed your visit today and maybe learned a few things. The reason for the ramble? I did a soap order today and will be making soap ready to go to homes in about 6 weeks. And yes Walnetto Farm will add a soap page to the blog when the time comes. Have a peaceful evening ! 












2 comments:

  1. That's the best explanation of saponification I've ever read. When I did my ash water experiments for baking without baking powder, I learned a lot about lye and lye water, and that it was the hydroxides in the hardwood ash products (potash, pearlash, or even my ash water) that could create a bitter or soapy taste to the baked goods. The answer to that was to increase the acidic ingredients. I didn't realize, however, that an acid is used to make soap. When I took a soapmaking class (eons ago) no one mentioned that the fat was an acid. So, pretty neat. This added another piece to the kitchen chemistry puzzle for me.

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    1. Thank you Leigh! I felt it was a great explanation also. More importantly easy to understand for the none science types.

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